The boss of Wicked Campers is silently refusing to comply with rulings against its offensive slogans.
A fresh complaint against the company was upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) last week, after a complainant labelled two of its slogans as “offensive” and “crude”.
It was the latest in at least nine complaints brought against the company in 12 months, most of which have been upheld, with orders for the slogans to be removed.
An ASA spokeswoman said the company had not responded to any of its requests, and, as far as she was aware, the company had not complied with its rulings.
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The latest complaint related to a window sticker which reads: “Attention Thieves. Thou Shalt Not Steal. God Is Watching You Thieving C***”, and a painted message on the side of the van, which says: “Let’s Throw a Cat on The Barbie”.
The complainant said the window sticker advertisement used inappropriate language and was offensive to Christians and women, while the painted message gave the impression that animal cruelty was acceptable or amusing.
Both messages were seen on a Wicked Campers van parked outside the Te Anau Department of Conservation (DOC) centre in February.
The ASA complaints board upheld the complaint, but said it had not received any response from Wicked Campers.
It expressed concern at the the company’s repeated refusal to respond to complaints, and their refusal to engage with, and respect, the principles of self-regulation.
“Taking into account the wide range of people that could potentially view the advertisements, the complaints board said they had not been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and to society and were likely to cause serious or widespread offence.”
The board said there had been a number of previous complaints about Wicked Campers, also with no response received.
John Webb, who founded Wicked Campers in Brisbane, has not responded to requests for comment.
Last year, three of Wicked Campers’ most offensive vehicles were banned from New Zealand’s roads, following a landmark ruling from the Classification Office.
It meant that the vans were banned from public places in New Zealand and Wicked could face a fine of up to $200,000 per offence if it continued to use them.
DOC has removed Wicked Campers from a list of rental companies on its website where tourists can buy a campsite pass.
In Queensland, new legislation was introduced by the state government aimed at banning offensive slogans from the rental company vans.
Wicked Campers has a long history of hitting the headlines.
In 2014, Wicked Campers agreed to review a vehicle featuring an image of a witch passing a methamphetamine pipe to Snow White, after Tasman police spotted the vehicle in Nelson and contacted the company owner.
The company has also come under fire from Associate Tourism Minister Paula Bennett for its slogans and some campgrounds have banned Wicked Campers.
The company’s website features various examples of provocative content disguised as useful information for tourists.
It describes the New Zealand Government as “Nazis” when it comes to campers parking and sleeping by roadsides.
“They fine people like crack addicts smoke crack,” the website says.